6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: A look at what repentace is and why it's so necessary.

Basic outline:

“It’s His Job, Right?”: We expect God to be merciful, but we forget that repentance is required.

- Jeremiah 3:12b (merciful/angry forever).

What’s It Look Like? Repentance is less a charge of emotion and more a change of direction.

- Jeremiah 3:13b (obeyed).

The First Step: Repentance requires admitting you’re guilty of specific sins.

- Jeremiah 3:13a (acknowledge your guilt).

Why It Matters So Much To God: This is so important because God see wanton sin as adultery.

- Jeremiah 3:8 (adultery), 14 (husband).

A Final, Extra Warning: The stakes are higher for Christians because guilt increases with knowledge.

- Jeremiah 3:11.

Full text:

“It’s His Job, Right?”: We expect God to be merciful, but we forget that repentance is required.

- Jeremiah 3:12b (merciful/angry forever).

- Today it’s pretty much the default setting for most folks that God is forgiving and merciful.

- Most people just presume that God will forgive their sins.

- Unfortunately and tragically, they too often presume that the forgiveness is automatic and requires nothing from them.

- In truth, God does stand ready and willing to forgive. Jesus’ death has made forgiveness possible. But it’s necessary that we repent of our sins in order to be forgiven.

- Jesus doesn’t excuse our sins; He forgives them.

- Excusing means just winking at them and saying that they’re no big deal. Forgiving means acknowledging that it’s serious and you’re guilty, but that He offers to make you clean anyway.

- God is more than willing to forgive, but we have to be willing to repent of our sin.

- Why don’t we do this? Why do we dislike repentance so much?

- I think (a) it hurts our pride, and (b) we don’t like admitting fault.

What’s It Look Like? Repentance is less a charge of emotion and more a change of direction.

- Jeremiah 3:13b (obeyed).

- Most people think of “repentance” in terms of tears cried at an altar or maybe that knot in your stomach that makes you sorry you did it.

- The core of it: an emotion.

- Now, I’m not against emotion. And I’ve rejoiced on many occasions at tears cried at a moment of decision for God.

- But the emotion is a symptom. It can be a sign that the real thing is going on.

- The true repentance is in the action.

- Repentance means to go 180 degrees in the other direction. It means a changed direction.

- There may be tears and emotion that accompany that moment of realization and the choice to turn around, but the emotion is not the most important thing. The most important thing is the action.

- One way that this is proven is that throughout Jeremiah God points to what Israel is doing (not what they’re thinking or feeling) as proof of the problem.

- We’ve often made forgiveness to be, at best, something like: “if you feel bad about what you did, ask God to forgive you and He will.”

- In that, we’ve left out the repentance part of the equation. Recognizing sin in our life should include desperately wanting it out of our life. If I ask God to “forgive” me, but I have no desire or inclination to actually get rid of that sin, it may be time to stop and reevaluate what’s going on here.

- Forgiveness isn’t just about getting rid of the guilt because I feel bad. It’s about wanting to get rid of the sin that caused the guilt.

- If sin is actually bad, the obvious next step would be that I want it out of my life.

- In truth, though, many of us as believers want to forgiven without being cleansed. We want to use God’s grace as a means for expunging our guilt without changing our behavior.

- Often we’re not really sorry for our sin, we’re just sorry we got caught. Often we don’t really want to change, we just don’t want to feel guilty anymore.

- If sin is toxic and out to destroy my life, though, I should want to do all I can to get rid of it.

- I should want to run the other direction as quickly as I can.

- Ongoing repentance has side effects: we are more humble and more pure of heart.

- Repentance isn’t meant to be a one-time salvation deal. It’s supposed to be an ongoing part of our walk of faith.

- Why? Because, unfortunately, sin is an ongoing part of our Christian walk as long as we’re in this sinful world.

- “Now, in fact, the patterns of wrongdoing that govern human life outside the kingdom are usually quite weak, even ridiculous. They are simply our habits . . .. But the replacement of habits remains absolutely essential . . .. And, generally speaking, those who say they ‘cannot help it’ are either not well informed about life or have not decided to do without ‘it.’” - Dallas Willard

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